David Letterman Tells Tina Fey He Didn’t Think Female Writers Wanted to Work on His ‘Dog-and-Pony’ Show

“Yeah, we did want to write on it, though,” says the “SNL” alum, referring to “The Late Show”

Tina Fey David Letterman

Tina Fey joined David Letterman Friday on his new Netflix talk show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” where he apologized for not hiring more female writers when he was host of “The Late Show.”

“When I had a television show, people would always say to me — I would do an interview with something somewhere — and they would say, ‘Well why don’t you have women writers?’ and the best I could come up with was, ‘I don’t know,’” he admitted to Fey.

“I didn’t know why there weren’t women writers… There was no policy against women writers,” Letterman continued. “I always thought, wellgeez, if I was a woman I don’t know if I would want to write on my nickel-and-dime, dog-and-pony show anyway because we’re on at 12:30.”

“Yeah, we did want to write on it, though,” Fey countered.

Letterman then apologized, saying “But that is my ignorance, and I feel bad for that, and it’s changing, has changed.”

Fey agreed, adding that the system for “SNL” is “actually very fair.”

“There’s this huge table read in the middle of the week where everyone writes their ideas on Tuesday night, and then Wednesday they get around the table and read like 40 or 50 sketches,” she explained. “And so you always get to write whatever you want, and you always pretty much always get your shot to perform it at that table read. And if it plays, it will go, most likely.”

Fey said that as more women worked on the show, they would laugh at jokes that men might not have laughed at, meaning more jokes by women would get chosen for the show.

She said that sometimes men not choosing jokes by women isn’t purposeful or institutional, but it does help if there’s someone in the room who gets the joke. “I feel like the more diverse the room [is] in every way, [the] smoother [the] sailing.”

You can next catch Fey hosting the finale of “SNL” on May 19, and you can watch her appearance on “My Next Guest” on Netflix, streaming now.